Australian tractor sales experienced further declines in October and are 24 per cent behind the same time last year.
Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia executive director Gary Northover said while the level of decline appeared high, there had been about 12,000 tractors sold so far in 2023, in line with what had traditionally been regarded as a strong year for sales.
"For some months now we have been reporting a slowdown in demand due to the predicted onset of drier weather along with the ongoing increases in interest rates. Clearly there is still solid demand for new machinery in the market as recent rains have brought some encouragement to farmers in the near term," he said.
Mr Northover said dealers continued to report solid inventory levels across the board, with the biggest challenge being able to supply the precise machine being requested.
"Supply chain bottlenecks appear to be easing due mainly to the lower volumes of machines coming into the country," he said.
"This is particularly the case for containerised freight which is moving smoothly.
"Ro-Ro (Roll On Roll Off) freight continues to present the odd challenge due mainly to the stringent quarantine regulations in place which can have the effect of sidelining entire shipments if a single problem is detected. This can be particularly stressful for time sensitive deliveries such as those required for harvest."
Looking around the nation, all states have experienced significant drops in the month, with Queensland down 26pc against the same month last year to be 21pc behind year to date (YTD).
NSW was down 34pc to be 25pc off YTD, and Victoria was off 27pc and is now 28pc behind YTD.
Sales in Western Australia were in line with last year and remain 19pc behind 2022.
South Australia recorded another big decline, off 45pc and now sits 20pc behind YTD and Tasmania was off 17pc for the month and 21pc down YTD, with sales in the NT finishing 8pc down, remaining 13pc down YTD.
Falls were experienced in all machine categories with the small under 40 hp (30kw) category down by 41pc for the month and is now 25pc behind YTD. The 40 to 100hp (30-75kw) range was also down 32pc and is now 25pc behind YTD, the 100 to 200hp (75-150 kw) category was down, this time by 19pc and remains 25pc behind YTD and the 200 hp (150kw) plus range slipped, down 8pc, remaining 16pc behind last year.
Sales of combine harvesters have stalled somewhat and are now in line with last year with just under 800 units sold so far in 2023.
Baler sales enjoyed another healthy rise and are now 15pc ahead on a YTD basis and sales of out-front mowers are down by about 4pc compared with the same time last year.
Mr Northover said there had been a noticeable pullback in machinery sales and while the current sales volumes could be described as good, he said the association remained cautious about the outlook for 2024 where the full impact of climate conditions, commodity prices, machinery price rises, and higher interest rates may have a fuller effect.
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